The business of blogging

Online journals, or blogs, keep business people in readers’ minds

 

Eric Badgley, a real estate agent for Prudential Kelstrup Realtors, said search-engine optimization is the No. 1 benefit of having a blog online.

 

As everyone knows, in recent years, user-driven Web activity has exploded.

 

A 2004 Pew Internet & American Life Project study found that more than 53 million American adults — 44 percent of adult Internet users — have published their thoughts, responded to others, posted pictures or shared files online. However, only between 2 percent and 7 percent of adult Internet users have created diaries or blogs online, and 11 percent of Internet users have read blogs or diaries of other Internet users, according to Pew Internet.

 

So what we’re interested to know, business folks, is why do you blog? How and why did you get started?

— Posted by The BBJ.

 

Comments:

I’ve got to give credit to my employee, Nick, who pushed hard on it. He said, “You’ve got to get it started.” (The idea) was kind of cool, and we had some interesting things to tell about our business. We started (the blog) a little over a year ago.

Search-engine optimization is a big part of what we do. Search engines love blogs, so when people search for “Web casting,” we come up high in the rankings, and people are able to find us.

— Aaron Booker

owner and president of Hardlines Co.,

a Web casting and IT business

 

I have a degree in journalism and like to write, and just found when I was doing search-engine work that there were a lot of individuals who were coming up doing blogs, and thought this was something I can do.

— Steven Smith,

owner of King of the House Inc.,

a home-inspection company

 

I’ve been blogging since March of last year because of the Internet exposure and link building.

When you write blogs about specialized items, you can tag it so it will be pulled up for whatever you want. So if someone were searching for Halloween events, or neighborhoods, they’d be able to find them if I had tagged it on my blog.

Every time you post a blog, it gives you a one-way back-link to your Web site, so it helps with personal Web site rankings, as well. I use activerain.com, REW Blogs and a personal Web site blog.

— Eric Badgley,

real estate agent for

Prudential Kelstrup Realtors

 

Some people use blogs to chronicle their thoughts on politics, entertainment, campus activities and personal lives. What is the purpose of your blog? What kind of comments do you get?

— Posted by The BBJ.

 

Comments:

Basically, I talk to clients and vendors about what we’re doing that’s cool. We’re sort of unusual in what we do and it’s turned into quite an advertising venue.

— Booker

 

One thing I use it for is … to refer (clients) to sources of additional information, like information about carpet ants or furnaces, and sometimes I link to articles I’ve written.

Also, to establish my credibility in the field. I write about wood-destroying organisms, conducive conditions for pests and mold and rules on home inspectors in Washington state. Just about anything you can think of. I actually blog for a number of real estate sites. I get thousands of hits. I’ve found articles I’ve written (on my blogs online) in Russia, Sweden and New Zealand.

— Smith

 

I blog about anything that has to do with real estate in general — why use a buyer’s agent, the need to get pre-approved (for a loan), neighborhoods, parks, home inspections, Bellingham’s green award.

On my personal blog, for a post on Oct. 10, I got 164 views. I usually get comments saying “great posts,” “great reading,” or sometimes I get buyer prospects. It’s probably only about a 1 percent comment rate, of the people who view it.

— Badgley

 

What are the benefits of having a blog?

— Posted by The BBJ.

 

Comments:

The real value is to connect with customers.

It’s easy to add to and edit a blog, for the average person. A lot easier than setting up a Web site.

A blog reinforces things we do and reminds people we’re a bigger small business than you might think. (Hardlines Co.) is Web casting in different parts of the whole world, and sometimes we post those on our blog.

— Booker

 

If you write well and you know a lot about your field, (having a blog) helps establish you as an authority in your field on certain topics. It keeps you active.

If you Google “Bellingham home inspector,” you’ll find me at the top of the results.

— Smith

 

Search-engine optimization authority is the number one benefit.

Number two is the authority on the Web, as far as clients or buyers — they see you as an authority, and you gain credibility.

— Badgley

 

Can you measure how much business has been generated by your blog?

— Posted by The BBJ.

 

Comments:

I get online business, for sure. But it’s still nothing close to the large part of my business. It’s just the gravy — probably about 15 percent.

— Smith

 

It’s tough to say. I do get business from activerain, but I can’t really put a number on it. Probably 20 percent to 30 percent of my rankings have to do with blogging, so if I blog a lot, my personal Web site gets viewed a lot.

— Badgley

 

We often hear about negative comments posted anonymously on blogs and the danger blogs can pose for revealing too much personal information. What are the pitfalls of a business blog?

-Posted by The BBJ.

 

Comments:

Don’t do it if you’re not going to put time and energy into it. I spend 45 minutes or an hour for each post.

We’re generally not allowing comments, most businesses don’t. Generally, the opportunity for bad (comments) is higher than good comments.

— Booker

 

It takes quite a bit of work, even though I have a background in writing. I post pictures and I try to do my blogs like newspaper stories. Because I worked in the media, I have the background, so I can do it fairly fast.

I try to do about 10 blogs a week. And try to do them on topics that are significant. And then I’m busy out inspecting, too, so I have to do it on weekends or evenings.

— Smith

 

I do get negative comments sometimes, and another huge pitfall is spammers — people that hijack your post, talk about themselves, and then put a link to their site.

— Badgley

 

What advice would you give other business owners who are thinking about starting a blog?

— Posted by The BBJ.

 

Comments:

Make sure you don’t let it wither on the vine. Assign someone to work on it as part of their job.

— Booker

 

Be prepared for the fact it’s going to be quite a lot of work if you want to keep it current, informative and up to date.”

— Smith

 

If your going to blog, make sure you read up a little on optimizing the pages. Choose a blog that has a lot of power, like activerain.com or REW Blogs (for real estate agents), which, if you write a post, it’s indexed within 20 minutes. Or wordpress.org (for non-real estate blogs).

Make sure it’s (linked) to your Web site or home page — that will give it power.

— Badgley

 

View these business blogs

Aaron Booker’s Hardlines Co. blog: www.hardlines.com/blog

Steven Smith’s King of the House Inc. blog: activerain.com/blogs/kingofthehouse

Eric Badgley’s blog: activerain.com/blogs/ericb

 

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